MILAM COUNTY, Texas — As Milam County continues to seek solutions for its lack of emergency transportation, several solar energy companies in the surrounding area have come together with a donation that will provide some relief to first responders.
With the closure of two local hospitals and the strain of the coronavirus pandemic, Milam County residents have suffered in recent years with only three ambulances and no emergency rooms in the area.
“My father, he’s been a lawyer here for a very long time, and he has a lot of significant health issues," said Matthew Humble, a lifelong Cameron local and spokesperson for High Road Clean Energy, LLC. "And yeah, I know if something were to happen to him, I don’t think I could stand waiting an hour.”
Several solar energy companies with local operations have come together, coordinated by High Road Clean Energy, and pledged to give a total of $180,000 towards the acquisition of a new emergency vehicle and paramedic.
“The idea was – what can we do to help?" said Humble. "These companies, it’s very common for them to try to make donations of some sort for the people who live nearby.”
The funds will pay for the paramedic’s salary of one year. Milam County Judge Steve Young shared that local mayors have offered to support that salary for an additional amount of time.
County first responders told KRHD that this new vehicle will be helpful in providing more responses to emergency calls. However, the vehicle will not be a full-service ambulance designed for hospital transport.
“For situations where we don’t have an ambulance, let’s say they’re all three out on a call," said Judge Young. "This [paramedic] could go triage that person and provide medical care while we wait on a fourth ambulance to get there.”
Rockdale VFD Chief Herbert Vaughn hopes the county, when bringing in the vehicle within the next few months, will select a model that supports some form of transportation, even if it’s just to a helicopter landing zone.
“The quick response vehicle is not going to be able to transport anybody if it’s the wrong kind of vehicle," Vaughn noted. "And then there’s some state regulations you have to look at, as far as transporting."
Ultimately, Young said he would like to see taxpayer approval of a long-term solution. Chief Vaughn echoed this sentiment, agreeing that county funding needs to be established for an emergency services district.